A systematic review of research on young women’s uptake, choice, and discontinuation of contraceptives: descriptive mapping

A systematic review of research on young women’s uptake, choice, and

discontinuation of contraceptives: descriptive mapping

L. Williamson, G. Hart, M. Petticrew

MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, UK

Objectives: Improving the reproductive health of sexually active young

women requires access to and appropriate use of safe and effective methods of

fertility control. The aim of this review is to produce a synthesis of research

evidence on the factors related to the uptake, choice, and discontinuation of

contraceptives among young women.

Design & Methods: A systematic review was carried out to

synthesise evidence on the effectiveness of interventions to increase

contraceptive use, and young women’s own views about contraceptive uptake,

choice and discontinuation. Data from systematic reviews, outcome evaluations,

and non-intervention research, including quantitative cross-sectional studies,

longitudinal studies and qualitative studies are included. In the descriptive

mapping stage relevant research from 1970–2003 will be identified and

described. Twenty-two electronic bibliographic databases, 7 key journals, and

the citations of relevant papers were searched.

Results: 16041 potentially relevant papers were identified and

screened for retrieval. Of these, 11048 were excluded due to irrelevant focus,

topic, population or study type. Further screening is currently underway. The

mapping process allows the range of research relevant to the topic area to be

described using broad classification terms: study type, country range,

populations, study focus and investigated factors, research designs and

methodological attributes. Studies will be classified according to the research

design used, and the inclusion or exclusion of key methodological information,

for example, the presence and comparability of control groups, the reporting of

sample size, sample demographics, response rates, and characteristics of

non-responders. The psychological, physical, family, interpersonal and

socio-cultural factors affecting the uptake, choice and discontinuation of

contraceptive methods among young women, and what they think should be done to

increase contraceptive use and reduce discontinuation will be identified. The

factors interventions have addressed will be identified and interventions that

have been effective in increasing contraceptive use and reducing discontinuation

will be highlighted. The process and the results of the descriptive mapping will

be presented, demonstrating the range, nature and content of the reviewed


Conclusions: The descriptive mapping stage of the systematic review

will provide a comprehensive guide to the literature in the field, ensures the

inclusion of a wide range of research and allows gaps in intervention studies to

be identified. This will provide researchers, policy-makers and practitioners

with a comprehensive guide to the evidence to aid the future development of

research, policy and practice, and of more effective interventions.

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